The Forever Burrito
A love letter from Mad Max to the recursive ‘rito
I order one with the works. They trap it, pack it, wrap it, and slap on a Tacorazon heart to make it official. I look on, anxiously eying a group on the far other of the room. My friends arrived 15 minutes ago and are working their ways slowly through sizeable breakfast burritos. I shouldn’t be worried, but hunger does strange things to people.
Burrito in tow, I sit. My friends are well. They drink Cabro and Bloody Marys on an April Sunday. They idle with their meal, enjoying a thing I don’t yet know. On a casual afternoon, we reflect.
But … there’s no time like the present. I peel back the aluminum, take a quick bite and assess the situation. There’s a lot going on: chorizo, eggs, cheese, black beans, tomatoes, onions, avocado, limon, four kinds of sauce, and, to top it off, the incomparable papa fritas en masse, all tucked neatly in a soft and glowing flour tortilla. I let go of my process and allow the burrito to sit back and relax in its red plastic carrier. Round, powerful, intelligent, engaging, tranquil, unassuming, whole. Talking Heads plays in the background and I start to get excited.
Through a promotion, a full side of papas fritas arrives to complement a delectable mystery fruit drink. The scene is thus set. The burrito waiting patiently, I begin to eat. And as I eat, I think.
What gives a burrito it’s nature? Common definitions might describe a containment of varied assortments, a smooth mask of hidden assemblage, a self-held entity of complication. There is inbound matter and there is a boundary, both operating under opposing yet cooperative forces, mutually assuring identity and existence. I bite the burrito, containing sauce, containing papas. I bite the papas, papas in themselves and involving sauce in their own way. In mystery fruit, they mix. They assemble. They become me.
As an acting, sealed, and otherwise unassuming “normal” looking container, have I brought the papas and the sauces and burrito and mystery fruit drink together within my force of containment? Just as a living, breathing burrito might aspire? In a way, am I a burrito? Ultimately, a burrito becoming burrito by eating burritos with fellow burrito-friends, each and all eating burritos in an attempt to re-establish their burritoness? Is this what it may mean to be what you eat? The boss burrito asks me how it’s all going.
I look at him. I look back down at my hands. The burrito is gone. There is sauce everywhere like some sick crime scene. My friend next to me stares emptily at his half-finished burrito. Where had the moment gone?
“I wish it would last forever,” I say. He smiles and gives a funny look, but seems to understand. He takes the remains and leaves. My friend, all-knowingly, slides his unfinished business to my side of the table. In deepest gratitude, I pour silent positive vibrations in his direction. Renewed, I reflect, grab hold, and begin again. The moment returns.
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